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Top Tours

 
Half-Day Algarve Convertible or Scooter Tour from Portimão
"Start your tour from the meeting point in Alvor and spend the day exploring the Algarve. See clear turquoise waters interspersed by rocky outcrops at Praia da Marinha. Then head to the historic town of Lagos Praia da Dona Ana the charming cliffs at Ponta da Piedade and back to the small fishing village of Alvor which faces a natural lagoon opening onto the sea a perfect hot spot for kite-surfing. You can include other activities like swimming in the sea and snorkeling. Go from long
From EUR80.00
 
Full-Day Algarve Tour by Convertible Cabrio from Portimão
"Make the most of your Algarve stay by renting a convertible Cabrio and enjoying a scenic drive. Your full-day tour starts in Praia da Rocha (Portimão) lasts approximately 6-7 hours tour and includes lunch in a typical restaurant in the hills. You will drive your own car as you follow your guide who will lead the tour in their own vehicle. Your guide will be happy to stop for pictures at any place.Begin the tour by visiting Algarve natural parks river springs and mountains where you can enjoy a wonderful view of the coast. Your tour can include other activities like bathing in the sea snorkeling or a picnic in a quiet bay. See Monchique garden largely covered in eucalyptus trees cork oaks and pine trees. Its highest peak Foia at 3
From EUR80.00
 
The Path of Dona Ana Walking Tour
"Meet your guide in the main square of Lagos (Praça do Infantes) where you will be given a short historical and cultural introduction to the city highlights. Then start your walking tour passing by Praia do Pinhão Praia Dona Ana and Praia do Camilo. You will have time to take pictures in every location (approximately 10 minutes). Next continue to Ponta da Piedade stop for pictures and refreshments. Keep walking to Praia do Porto de Mós where we stop for a nice fresh drink or for a dive."""This walking tour enables you to see the beauty of the Algarve coastline. Bring your camera and prepare yourself for the most stunning views and fantastic paths until Porto de Mós beach! We will also pass by Ponta da Piedade (religious monument and also o
From EUR39.00

Grottos Tips (6)

Boat trip to the grottos

The coastline near Lagos is among the most interesting and scenic on the Algarve. Here the orange/brown limestone has been eroded into intriguing stacks, arches and grottos, with pretty little coves tucked among them, many accessible only by sea. The best way to see these formations is by boat and there are many trips available from stands along the Avenida dos Descobrimentos. Some are in quite large boats, others much smaller, and at least one, the Bom Dia, is a traditional-looking sailing boat (see the photos in my tip about the Avenida). Our VT crowd decided to go with the smaller boats which I think was a good call – these are better suited to weaving in and out of the rock formations, and in any case I always enjoy a ride in a small boat over a large one because of the extra movement and closeness to the water! And in case you're concerned at the size of the boat, be reassured that the boatmen all seem very skilled and all passengers are issued with life-jackets.

The boats we chose operate from the southern end of the Avenida. The operator/owner must have thought it was Christmas when about 30 VTers arrived all wanting to book a trip, and he had to call for additional boats to take us all as there was room for only four people in each. The trip cost €15 for about 45 minutes and was well worth that in my view.

Our pilot took us out of the river mouth and headed south along the coast. Soon we reached most interesting part and he started to weave among the formations while pointing out some of the more interesting which have been given unofficial names such as the ‘Elephant’ and the ‘Titanic’ – although as with all these things you sometimes have to use a lot of imagination to see the shape suggested! And to be honest these rather spectacular formations don’t need the addition of a name to make them interesting.

We were also taken into a couple of the grottos and were astounded at the colour of the water in places (look at photo four which I can promise has not been touched up for colour in the slightest). The pilot did his best in the tossing waves to ensure that we all got a close look at the best sights, turning it until we had all taken some photos, but you’ll get the best views if you’re in one of the two front seats (although I suspect will also get wetter here – be prepared to be a little splashed!)

The time went very quickly and we were too soon on our way back to the town. If I were to come here again I’d try to do a longer trip, although it may be that for these you have to go in the larger boats and may not get so close to the rocks. Other options available include dolphin-watching further out to sea and kayaking among the rocks, and we also saw people on escorted paddle-boarding trips.

Next tip: lunch at The Garden

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toonsarah
Jul 09, 2016

This is well worth doing.

I mentioned on my introductory page for Lagos that my reason for being on the Algarve recently was for the L[http://members.virtualtourist.com/meeting/Euromeet_2016_in_Algarve_Portugal-7761/]Euromeet 2016 and one of the excursions available as a boat trip to see the "grottoes" (effictively sea caves) along the coast in the vicinity. I was undecided as to whether to bother and was just going to wander off in search of a beer but my friend persuaded me and I am so glad she did as I really enjoyed myself. If the reader wants to have go themselves, here is the drill.

The jetty is almost opposite the square with the old church on the N125 which is the main road that runs alongside the water. If you find the Cafe Alma on the front it is not far from there, you won't miss it. At the top of the jetty you will find someone taking the money but don't worry this is not a scam, it is just the way they operate. The actual boatmen don't take the money and they must have some sort of co-operative going on. The cost as of May 2016 was €15 per person. If you are time constrained the whole event lasts about 45 minutes to an hour.

Make your way down the jetty and there will (hopefully) be some pretty small open boats there which take four passengers each. Get on board and be careful as they do wobble a bit but the boatman will help you. Once seated, don the provided lifejackets and away you go, simple as that.

Heading out of the rivermouth you turn right and head past the ancient town walls and a hugely impressive old bridge before you start along a magnificent coastline. I am no geologist so I cannot tell you all about what numerous the layers of rock are but I know the sea has eroded some fantastic little caves and blowholes not to mention numerous odd shaped rocks. Our boatman was a rotund and infectiously jovial chap and, although he did not have much English, he was explaining the names of the various rocks as every one seems to have been named. OK, some of them were a touch fanciful but I definitely got Elephant and Eagle and many others.

Whilst on the water I noticed a couple of larger boats and yachts obviously with tourists aboard and I am sure they are very comfortable but then you miss the best bit and that is actually going into the caves which genuinely is amazing in the true sense of the word. Even in May there were plenty of boats so you may have to queue for a while and they don't spend long in there as there isn't a lot of room in there. For the energetic (for which read younger than me) there were also a fair number of kayaks out which might have been great fun about 25 years ago before I wrecked my back!

I mentioned that you do not spend too much time in each cave so make sure you have your camera battery well charged and ready to go. I knew I went on a complete shutter frenzy and there is only space for five images on a tip so I will construct a travelogue or two to showcase my amateur photographic efforts. For me the highlight was in one cave where there is the most incredibly coloured water I have ever seen anywhere. The image is totally unretouched and taken on a cheap little compact but I hope it gives an idea.

As I said at the top of this piece I was in two minds as to whether or not to do it but I loved it and do recommend it highly.

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planxty
Jun 14, 2016

The Grottos 2 (Desciptions)

If this is your first visit to Lagos, you simply must take a "grotto tour". Step into a small fishing boat, let your local fisherman be your guide, and witness from the water, the distinctive and magnificent cliffs that surround the Lagos area. It is truly a sight unseen! Your guide will navigate around and under the intriguing rock formations, take you into caves and point out the many secluded beaches that surround the town.

You can take the grotto tour by signing-up with one of the vendors along marble sidewalk in front of town. Alternatively, catch a boat at Praia Dona Ana or at Ponte da Piedad. This tour offers a little variety to your beach day. The fisherman bring the boats right to the beach, and you can generally get a good rate here
Approximately €10 to €20 per person, based on your starting point

kevin36's Profile Photo
kevin36
Apr 04, 2011

The grottos

If this is your first visit to Lagos, you simply must take a "grotto tour". Step into a small fishing boat, let your local fisherman be your guide, and witness from the water, the distinctive and magnificent cliffs that surround the Lagos area. It is truly a sight unseen! Your guide will navigate around and under the intriguing rock formations, take you into caves and point out the many secluded beaches that surround the town.

You can take the grotto tour by signing-up with one of the vendors along marble sidewalk in front of town. Alternatively, catch a boat at Praia Dona Ana or at Ponte da Piedad. This tour offers a little variety to your beach day. The fisherman bring the boats right to the beach, and you can generally get a good rate here
Approximately €10 to €20 per person, based on your starting point.
The Video

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kevin36
Apr 04, 2011
 
 
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Taking a boat trip to the grottoes.

Just a couple of miles away from Lagos you have the famous Ponte de Piedade where you have some of the nicest rock formations in Portugal and you have many boat trips to the grottoes leaving from Lagos.
The cheapest trips are taken with the small boats operated by old local guys who have a little stand by the end of the river.
They are cheaper than the people standing close to the marina who generally offer longer and more expensive trips that includes more than visiting the grottoes.
The trips to Ponte de Piedade are worth doing and I would say it is a must while you are in Lagos.

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cachaseiro
Sep 07, 2010

A local nutcase takes you out in a boat

The locals were surprised when they realised that I'd not heard of their internationally renowned grottos. To plug this hole in my knowledge we signed up for a trip to visit them.

Great way to spend a spare hour. Make sure:
a) the tide's out
b) the sun's out
c) the chap driving the boat's not on speed

Then look for one of the dozen or so operators strewn along the Avenida and in the Marina.

You get picked up on the quayside and taken on the a tour of the beaches and coastal rock formations. The boats are small, and the driver's keen... to impress you with their deft boat handling skills and their ability to call out the names of animals in English and German. We later learned that this was the guided part of the trip, and the animals were what the rocks apparently resembled. Perhaps, if you've been getting through a lot of the local wine.

On the plus side, the boat will take you on a tour past the best westward beaches, through impressive golden rock arches and into, otherwise inaccesible, caves.

Not bad for EUR 7 each.

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Westbrook
Apr 23, 2004
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kevin36

"Lagos Algarve"
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cachaseiro

"My favorite town in Algarve."
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Balam

"Shopping and History"
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Westbrook

"Easter in Lagos - 2004"
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toonsarah

"The past weighs heavily"
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Things to Do Near Grottos

Things to Do

Forte da Ponta da Bandeira - Fort

The Forte da Ponta da Bandeira (also known as Forte do Pau da Bandeira, Forte de Nossa Senhora da Penha de França and Forte do Registo) guards the entrance to the river Bensafrim. It was built in the...
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Things to Do

Igreja de Santa Maria - Church

The first church on this site, on the western edge of what is now Praca Infante Dom Enrique, was built in 1498. It was dedicated to 'misericordia' (mercy) and was expanded during the 1500s and...
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Things to Do

Igreja de Santo Antonio - Church

One of two sightseeing highlights in Lagos for me was this, the church of St Anthony, apart from one niggle which I will come to. As far as I could tell the church is no longer used for worship and...
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Things to Do

Sant’Ana Church

The exterior of this 18th century church is rather lovely, with its Wedgewood blue trim, and it has a great location perched a little above the old town. Unfortunately, it was shut when we visited...
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Things to Do

Old Town

Walk along lots of avenidas (avenues) and travessas (lanes). You will find lots of restaurants; various nice shops and some surprises; as a house (now a restaurant) decorated with shells (see my last...
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Getting to Grottos

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